- Disco bowling with the family on the eve of our girl’s first day of school.
I snapped this photo in one of those moments where your life seems to freeze in total clarity around you. They’re rare enough these days but nonetheless there I was.
See, around 6 months ago right in the middle of lock down and after sitting on the fence for so many years- my family decided to make the move to a regional community near to my side of the family. Initially we planned to move in December or even January of 2021. But as shit got real mid wave, we moved everything super far forward. In the space of a month, with three kids including a newborn in tow and with minimal outside support due to restrictions, we literally packed up our whole life from where it had been happily and comfortably lived for many years and moved it hours away.
It was a practical decision in many ways. But it was also brutal.
Leaving so many of our friends, our community, our familiar area, kinders, health carers and a beloved child care provider. Leaving a home where we had birthed or brought home three precious children and raised them. Leaving during a time where we could hardly say goodbye, no farewells or house coolings. No lead up, no gradual separation and no cleansing ritual in the process.
I think I thought that because we were leaving the area in hard lockdown and also finally making a decision we’d put off for years that it would be a relief or something. And so I was sort of knocked sideways by how difficult I actually found this change, especially since it had in bulk part been my idea.
- However, here we were in this retro, wholesome little bowling alley with the kids enjoying time with me and their dad, their grandparents and their Aunty, with our biggest girl starting school in the morning with little fear of having to uproot her in the middle of her education to move to a different area of Melbourne for affordable housing or a big change of circumstance. Here were the kids drinking half-syrup milkshakes and playing with the unpaid-for claw machine games, hugging their loved ones, dancing in between their turns to bowl and seeming very happy and settled indeed (albeit a bit fraught thanks to a missed toddler nap time).
- And all I could think was… yes, this was hard. This is still hard. I’m still unpacking and processing and eager to achieve that next goal of finding our for ever home in town. But this is what I wanted for them. Fun. Family. Connection. Security. Access to a lovely school and community. Simple but wonderful. That’s what I’d been going for. That’s why we moved and for at least that moment, that’s what we had in the room.
I don’t know what’s coming next. What form will my business take? Will I complete study? Will the kids be happy? Will we ever buy the dream house? I can hope. But I don’t know. But I do know that in the moment before I took this photo, I remembered that to me- it’s family at the top of my values. At the tip top of the list. Everything else can work around that. And that’s wtf we’re doing here. ♥️